Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Is Double Dating the Secret to a Happy Marriage?

Scientists discover an old truth.

A new study  by University of Maryland Professor Geoffrey Greif and Kathleen Holtz Deal that is the basis for their new book "Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships", showed that relationships of double dating couples like singers Beyonce and Jay Z and actress Gwyneth Paltrow and  Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin tend to last much longer than "Lone Ranger" couples that isolate. Professor Grief observed that there are "fun sharing" as well as "emotion sharing" couples. In each case,  couples who double date with another couple "seem to have happier relationships...they gain a great deal from being with that couple as  well as interacting with each other.. seeing your partner at their best, having a good time...makes them more attractive."

This concept seems revolutionary but it is hardly new. Historian Ellen Rothman's research showed that even engaged American couples in the 1800s remained socially active with both men and women. The idea was to maintain balance in one's life even as one attained marriage. There was never this artificial isolation leading to the Honeymoon and putting all this pressure on one person to meet all your relational needs. In fact, the Honeymoon,which developed in 1830s and eventually became a wedding tradition, was originally a bridal trip that included friends and close relatives. Today's Honeymoon, where the couple rushes off to a secret, exotic locale isolated from friends and family, is a mutation of the original healthy community celebration of marriage.

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We praise Beyonce and Jay Z and Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin for being great examples of a healthy relationship.

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.


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